Friday, March 03, 2006


J H: Ideas often become habits of the mind - writing poetry is having a certain, and hopefully evolving, set of ideas to work with or against the idea of a particular poem. What is self-conscious becomes with repetition subconscious. I like flarf - I find it very engaging and enjoyable. I especially like the plays. As far as the poem are concerned, I see them as revealing the stimuli for a poem, the object that's to be written about (the object as subject of the poem) brought to the fore with mediation likewise exposed. For example, the spam email line "Obtain a prosperous future, money earning power" is presented and not commented upon directly or via contrast. Re-working lines in flarf, and adding lines of your one's own, is presenting the (unmediated) writing impulse alongside the unmediated language. "Pierre Menard writes surrealism, found poetry, and Pierre Menard" is how I would blurb many flarfists. I don't think I would be morally opposed to any sort of writing. I have thought about writing in rhyme and established meter, and if the poem calls for it I will - that would be an interesting moment of discovery to see a poem that couldn't live unless it was in a certain rhyme or meter. Though how could I prove it to anyone other than myself (the dilemma of Poe's "The Philosophy of Composition" - is it autobiography or hoax?). Could one fake a flarf poem? Wouldn't it seem as if an author was faking the faking of a flarf poem? Could one compare texts prior to flarf with flarf poems to determine what is unique to flarf? Flarf has the historical fact of the internet and experimentation, but does it possess something external to a flarf poet's philosophy of composition? I'm assuming it does, re my comments above about unmediation.

AHB: I brought up flarf just because it has been focused on some lately. This has much been done by evaluating it as its own phenomenon, somehow separate from the work itself. A curious critical employment where the group term replaces the work. I think this might be synedoche, or maybe I've got that backwards. Anyway, this happens often, where the (presumed) group impetus gets discussed rather than specific works. Not all flarf is grrrrEAT!!!, but I wasn't expecting it to be. Much of it, tho, so obviously is a poem that, without the hullabaloo, would be read as such, and not as a blow against the Empire of Poetry. This happened with the LANGUAGE poets, and any strong artistic group. There's always a reluctance against something somehow deemed new. Flarf isn't so much new as technique, but the people are new, that interaction of in fact a very few writers. And I think flarf has helped to look at today's dilemma. I've worked flarfingly and often have produced laboured work, but I have also produced work that feels like mine, (if I may be so possessive). And how flarf addresses bad taste, the uncomfortable and unpleasant, is instructive. I shy away from the really ranty coarse stuff that one can easily find in internet searches but I've forced myself to play along just to face that which makes me flinch. I think a value exists in bad taste, not as an advocacy of bad taste, but as consideration of my own presumptions. Which I think touches on the mediation you bring up. That whole faking stuff, I think it shows. I've noted it in the world of LANGUAGE poetry (which may or may not exist!), where some poems of LANGUAGE ilk work, and some seem like imitations. i.e.: anyone can write disjunctively (I know I can), etc, so there's more to it than that!!!.It's a matter of sinking deep into the procedure of text development, whatever procedure that may be. Even to the point of disappearance. Or might you not think so? By the way: "Ideas often become habits of the mind": good line.


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